7 Reasons to Sit Leaving Cert 2021

At last, we have clarity on Leaving Cert 2021. Students can opt to not sit the exams and receive Accredited Grades, sit the exams only, or (and this has been my preferred option), opt to combine both.  Here is why I think the third option is a win/win.

Reasons to Sit

  1. Students have been working towards this for the past 2 years. Yes, there has been major interruption, but classwork has continued, and the majority of the course will be covered in most subjects. You will be exam ready by June.
  2. Exams are part of life. Every year students face exam pressure and stress and if the intention is to continue in education, either in third-level or by way of an apprenticeship, then they will have exams in the future.
  3. Unlike last year when the date of the exam was initially moved to July / August and was finally sat in November, the Leaving Cert will be in June. This gives a firm date to aim for.
  4. Adjustments are being made to papers – while the time for each exam remains the same, fewer questions will need to be answered.
  5. Calculated grades have been replaced with accredited grades. Class teachers will grade their students but this time they don’t have to rank their students. Watch out for my next column when I go into accredited grades in more detail.
  6. Results Day will be the same for all options. There will be no delay with CAO offers.
  7. When a student has opted for both accredited grades and sitting the exam, the grade awarded will automatically be the better of the two and that is the grade that will be forwarded to the CAO.

No Downside to Leaving Cert 2021

Opting for combined exam/accredited grades is to me the best of all worlds. You have nothing to lose and all to gain. Having a exam to aim for will keep you focused, so class tests will go well for you.  Revision means that you can go over areas that you may not have done so well in before which may be reflected in your accredited grade. Sitting the exam gives you a chance to improve.

There really is no downside to sitting the exam. If the only thing you wrote on the paper was your exam number, you will still receive the same accredited grade. But what if when you open that paper the questions suited you so perfectly you would swear that you had set the exam yourself?

Chance to Improve Grade

You have the chance to improve on your grade with no impact whatsoever on the accredited grade that you will receive regardless. Imagine how gutted you may feel if you don’t sit the exam and find that you would have easily done it. Sitting the exam could be the difference that makes the difference.

This year’s Leaving Certs have had it tough. They were side-lined last year as everyone grappled with the reality of the pandemic. They have flip-flopped between physical and remote teaching and have been caught in the middle of wrangling between the Department and teaching unions.

Cram or Freeze

The Leaving Cert 2021 is more than just an exam. It is a rite of passage and pathway to careers. I really think that opting to sit the exam and get accredited grade allows the best of all worlds to students. For the student who depends on cramming to improve their grade, they can still cram and sit the exam. For the student who has a brain freeze on the day of the exam, they will still get their accredited grade. The student who sits the exam and comes out feeling that they didn’t do so well, may find that they did better than they thought.

Previously the Leaving Cert exam was equitable in that every student anonymously sits the same exam, but I believe that Leaving Cert 2021 has the potential to be the fairest as well. In fact, I suggest that this year’s Fifth Year students should galvanise, organise, and demand that as their fifth year was also interrupted, Leaving Cert 2022 should give them the same if not better options.  Perhaps the future of the Leaving Cert is already here.

For more information on our Programs contact Elaine on 087 2996054 or elaine@hummingbirdlearning.com

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